Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Image Soft Tissues With New X-Ray Technique

20.05.2003


A conventional synchrotron radiograph of a foot (A) and the same foot shown with Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (B). Note the greater variety of soft tissues visible with in the DEI frame.


Provides more information than conventional x-rays or other scanning methods

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers at Rush Medical College, have demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel x-ray imaging technology to visualize soft tissues of the human foot that are not visible with conventional x-rays. The technique, called Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (DEI), provides all of the information imparted by conventional x-rays as well as detailed information on soft tissues previously accessible only with additional scanning methods such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This study appears in the May 2003 issue of the Journal of Anatomy.

“We’ve previously shown that this technique can visualize tumors in breast tissue and cartilage in human knee and ankle joints, but this is the first time we have shown it to be effective at visualizing a variety of soft tissues, such as skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, adipose pads, and even collagen and large blood vessels,” said physicist Zhong Zhong, who works at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven Lab, where the current work was done. “The ability to visualize such a range of soft tissues as well as bone and other hard tissues with just one technique has many potential applications in diagnosis,” Zhong said.



The technique makes use of the intense beams of x-rays available at synchrotron sources such as the NSLS. These beams are thousands of times brighter than those produced by conventional x-ray tubes, and provide enough monochromatic x-ray flux for imaging even after selection of a single wavelength.

In conventional x-ray images, the various shades of gray are produced because different tissues absorb different amounts of x-ray energy. “This works great in imaging bones and other calcified tissues,” said Zhong, “but less satisfactorily in imaging soft-tissues that have similar and low x-ray absorption.” In DEI, the scientists are more interested in the x-rays that pass through the tissue and how they bend and scatter as they do, because these properties vary more subtly between different types of tissue.

To analyze a specimen with DEI, the scientists place a perfect silicon crystal between the sample and the image detector. As x-rays from the synchrotron go through the sample, they bend, or refract, and scatter different amounts depending on the composition and microscopic structure of the tissue in the sample. Then, when the variously bent rays exit the sample and strike the silicon crystal, they are diffracted by different amounts according to their angular spread. So the silicon crystal helps convert the subtle differences in scattering angles produced by the different tissues into intensity differences, which can then be readily detected by a conventional x-ray detector. This results in extremely detailed images that are sensitive to soft tissue types.

For example, in the current study, a conventional radiograph of a human toe shows bones and a calcified blood vessel; except for the faint “shadow” of the surrounding soft tissues and calcification within a tendon, no other structures are visible. The DEI scan of the same specimen in the same position clearly shows skin, the fat pads beneath the bones, the blood vessel, the nail plate, and some tendons, which are clearly distinguishable from the surrounding connective tissue. Within one of the fat pads, even the organizational architecture of the collagen framework is visible. Moreover, the bones take on a three dimensional appearance because of the detail available in the scans.

In the current study, the DEI images were produced with a lower x-ray dose than that used for diagnostic x-rays and no contrast agent was needed, making the technique viable as a potential screening tool, said Zhong.

The scientists are still working on how to scale down the DEI design so that it can be used in a clinical setting. But they say this should be feasible and that the technique may eventually greatly enhance mammography and become increasingly important in the detection of other soft tissue pathologies such as osteoarthritis, breast cancer, and lung cancer.

Collaborators at Rush Medical College include Carol Muehleman, Jun Li, and Klaus Kuettner. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., and the U.S. Department of Energy, which supports basic research in a variety of scientific fields.

Karen McNulty Walsh, | Brookhaven National Laboratory
Further information:
http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/2003/bnlpr051303.htm
http://www.rushu.rush.edu/medcol/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finding new clues to brain cancer treatment
21.02.2020 | Case Western Reserve University

nachricht UIC researchers find unique organ-specific signature profiles for blood vessel cells
18.02.2020 | University of Illinois at Chicago

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

NUI Galway highlights reproductive flexibility in hydractinia, a Galway bay jellyfish

24.02.2020 | Life Sciences

KIST researchers develop high-capacity EV battery materials that double driving range

24.02.2020 | Materials Sciences

How earthquakes deform gravity

24.02.2020 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>